Forgetting to Leave
I'm still on Phi Phi Island, and can't seem to leave. I really like being here. The people that I've met have been so fabulous. I want to go up to everyone and say, like a friend of mine used to when he was a kid, "Wanna be friends?"
I went on a tour of the areas impacted by the tsunami. It's insane to hear about people's experiences while being on this island. People went to bed Dec. 25th, and woke up the next day 50 feet from their houses. Huge buildings, bungalows, shops, bars, and trees were knocked down and washed out into the ocean. There were so many incredible stories of people getting swept over and through buildings, and surviving. We watched some really moving videos of the waves coming. Since the main part of this island is a strip of beach with ocean on both sides, the area was hit by two different waves. After the two waves, there were rumors of another wave coming, so people were hurt and devastated, and had to head up to the higher land (jungle) to spend the night. I can't even begin to imagine how torturesome that would have been. They were in this mountainous jungle with no supplies, and were afraid of another wave coming, and lots of them had lost friends and family. I am constantly amazed by the fact that people keep on keeping on here. Since the island is so small, everybody knows each other, and some people lost twenty family members. One guy I know lost his sister, wife, and two daughters. Plus, his business.
Yesterday I volunteered briefly to help put together huge emergency boxes that will be put in high ground in case something similar to a tsunami happens again. There will be 12 boxes, and they have everything imaginable in them, from peanut butter to hatchets to injectable saline solution. Hopefully, they won't have to use them.
I've been starting to have a routine, which is nice. Mornings start with a blurry eyed navigation of the stairs on my bunk bed, heading down to the communal bathroom (which smells of moth balls), and finding some corn flakes asap. I start working at the memorial garden around 9:30, and do something like moving sandbags, washing bricks, or picking up 'rubbish' as the Brits say. It would be far more pastoral if I were pruning topiaries or something, but alas. We have a long lunch (hopefully including a fruit shake), and then we head back to work. Usually in the afternoon it cools off around. At 5:30 I jump in the ocean, then in the evenings I hang out in the town. There are restaurants that show movies, clubs with obnoxious music, restaurants, etc. We play cards and pool a lot. And, that's pretty much it.